Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pho Dau Bo Vietnamese Restaurant Review

Today is a cold snowy day and also my best friend's birthday. I wanted to treat her for lunch and she decided on our favourite staple, pho. She didn't want to go to our usual place and wanted to go somewhere different, maybe up north (we live and work in the SE quadrant). It was so much easier now to get to the northeast quadrant of the city since Stoney Trail opened up. 

A quick google search of "best pho in Calgary" returned Pho Dau Bo. With an 89% rating on Urbanspoons, we thought we'd give this place a try. According to the reviews, the Beef Saté Pho was the best thing to order off the menu. 

The restaurant itself was very easy to find. It was nestled in a small strip mall just behind the Sobeys on 52nd St & 17th Ave SE. Now, there is no shortage of Vietnamese noodle houses on 17th Ave SE. In fact there was another noodle house right beside Pho Dau Bo and one across the street!

The restaurant was updated, clean, and very well lit. We were greeted immediately and was given the choice of where to sit. I was a bit surprised to see it almost empty at 11:30 am. There was only one other table when we got there. Two big groups and another couple arrived during our meal. 

The menu had the standard Vietnamese fare, but I did notice the front page highlighting that they have gluten-free spring rolls. I'm thinking they use rice papers for these instead of the regular spring roll wrappers, but we were here for one thing, Beef Saté Pho. 

As they came to take our order, they brought us hot jasmine tea without having to ask. Service was pretty attentive and our heaping bowls of large soups came within 10 minutes of ordering. 

The pho was served with the typical plate of sprouts, basil, lime wedge, & bird's eye chilli. To my surprise, the plate also included a few leaves of culantro. I don't normally see this served at our usual pho spots so this was a pleasant addition. 

The satay broth was rich, spicy & had a very complex flavour. It looked a lot creamier than other satay soups I've had before. I would have to say that the broth is one of the best I've ever had in Calgary, as far as saté broth comes. 

The only qualms I had was the amount of beef in the soup and the amount of garnish served. Both were on the small side. I guess that's why they have an "extras" section in the menu where you can add extra beef & other items for a few more dollars. 

Price wise, it's comparable to other places at $9 for a regular and $10 for a large, although the amount of meat was minimal in comparison to our usual place. I would definitely come back here again, if only to take my partner Jesse to try it out. He loves saté pho and would probably really enjoy the flavourful broth.

Pho Dau Bo Vietnamese Beef Noodle House on Urbanspoon

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